Easter traditions in Greece
Travelling to Greece around Easter time is a wonderful opportunity to see how Greeks celebrate this very important day and to experience a deep connection and respect they have for their tradition. For Greek Orthodox Church, Easter is the most important holiday as it symbolizes the beginning of new life. If you are visiting at this time of the year, you must not miss participating in a number of customs that are deeply cherished and respected among the locals.
The Holy Week
The week before Easter is also known as the Holy Week. During that week and 5 weeks before, people are fasting, which means that no meat, eggs or dairy products are included in their meals until Easter. This is a great opportunity to experience their way of living during the Great Lent and also taste some of the delicious specialties you don’t normally have the chance to try out. After the Saturday midnight liturgy and a ceremony that follows, Christians break their fast and celebrate Easter with a meal together with their loved ones.
An interesting custom
‘Tsougrisma’, or the Easter egg cracking, is an important and a very fun custom! Traditionally, Easter eggs were dyed in red color, but nowadays you can see colorful egg baskets. This interesting custom is very popular among young children, and everywhere you turn you can hear them joyfully running around and trying to find the next opponent to crack eggs with!
First, find the egg that you hope will be strong enough for this interesting competition! When it’s your turn, tap the end of your egg against the egg of the person you are competing with. If you crack both ends of the other person’s egg, you have won! Otherwise, congratulate them and find a new egg! While tapping your opponent’s egg you should say ‘Christos Anesti’, and your opponent will reply with ‘Alithos Anesti’.
Taste of authentic food…
With these customs comes great food as well! You’ll enjoy many Greek specialties that are traditionally made for Easter day. You’ll try their famous Easter soup called ‘Magiritsa’, roasted lamb, number of delicious pastries, such as Tsoureki, and of course, the eggs!
One of the things you definitely should taste is the ultimate Greek Easter cookie called ‘Koulourakia’! This delicious and crispy cookie is something every Greek relates to Easter holidays and childhood memories. They are sweet and fun to make because of their twirled, braided shape.
If you are traveling to Greece, make sure you explore the holiday traditions and have an authentic experience of Easter!